Let Down Your Net
In Jesus’ earthly ministry, He went about doing miracles and wonders, and preaching and teaching about the Kingdom of God. The hearts of the people were blessed, and crowds followed Him wherever He went. In Luke 5, we read that on one occasion, “as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret, and saw two ships standing by the lake.” The ships were empty, because after fishing all through the night, “the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets” (verses 1-2).
As Jesus walked by, many people were following Him. They came with hungry hearts, eager to listen, and He saw an opportunity with the two empty boats. What a wonderful God we serve! He can make much of what little is available around us. The Bible tells us in the next verse that He boarded one of the boats and instructed the owner, Simon Peter, to “thrust out a little from the land.” Then He sat down and taught from the boat, so that everyone could see and hear Him.
Though the people surely listened intently, Simon might not have wanted to hear a sermon right then. He’d had a rough night and was probably tired and discouraged. He and the other fishermen had taken their vessels out the day before and toiled all night without catching anything. These were commercial fishermen who depended on the income, so they’d had a bad day. But Jesus knew all about that, and so He had engaged Simon’s boat for His pulpit.
When Jesus finished preaching, as the people were going away, we read in verse 4 that He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.” Simon could have found reasons for not doing what the Lord asked. He could have said, “This is not the right time of day,” or, knowing what had happened the night before, “I’ve already tried that; the fish aren’t biting.” But the Master was speaking. The One who had made the sea and the fish that swim in it knew the situation, and He was in control.
When we make excuses such as, “The timing isn’t right” or “I am not able,” we miss out on the blessing He has for us as a result of doing His will.
The Lord is still in control. When He calls us to do something, we simply need to obey, even if the task doesn’t make sense or seems impossible to us. When we make excuses such as, “The timing isn’t right” or “I am not able,” we miss out on the blessing He has for us as a result of doing His will.
God wanted to do something in Simon’s life that would change everything, but this required trust. Simon’s first reaction was to say, “Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing,” but then he yielded to the Lord’s will and added, “Nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net” (verse 5). He took a giant step of faith, and God richly rewarded him! The Bible tells us in verse 6 that he and the other men went fishing, “and when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake.” What a catch!
God had blessed Simon for his faith and obedience, but more than that, Jesus said to him, “From henceforth thou shalt catch men.” Then Simon and his partners, James and John, “when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him” (verses 10-11). Eventually, these three became the Apostles, Peter, James, and John, and won many souls for God’s Kingdom. A step of faith will not only impact our lives, but the lives of those around us as well.
Looking through Scripture, we find many others who took a giant step of faith and obeyed God when circumstances pointed to doing otherwise. They too witnessed God’s miracles, received His blessing, and became a blessing to others. If we will follow their examples, we can expect the same.
Noah, in his day, was called upon to build an ark, because there was going to be rain. Though he had never seen rain, he did not ask, “Lord, what are You talking about?” He did not say, “This does not make sense to me.” Instead, he placed his trust in God and obeyed. When the floodwaters came, he and his family were spared—eight souls in all—and the human race was preserved. God is still calling today, for men and women, boys and girls, to take that giant step of faith for Him. Only He knows how many lives will be impacted if we do.
How might things have been different if Jochebed, the mother of Moses, had trusted in herself and not in God? When the Egyptian Pharaoh said that all Jewish males were to be killed at birth, she hid her newborn for three months. But babies cry, and she could not keep him quiet any longer. What could she do? She put her faith in God, placed her son in a basket at the river’s edge, and witnessed a miracle. Her baby was spared when the Pharaoh’s daughter saw him in the river and took him in as her own son. Later, when Moses became a man, God used him to deliver the nation of Israel from bondage in Egypt. What a mighty God we serve! He is always in control and had a purpose for Moses’ life from the beginning when He called on Jochebed to trust Him.
Esther was a Jewish queen whose people were about to be slain. When her uncle urged her to go to the king and make supplication for her people, she replied, “All the king's servants, and the people of the king's provinces, do know, that whosoever, whether man or women, shall come unto the king into the inner court, who is not called, there is one law of his to put him to death, except such to whom the king shall hold out the golden sceptre, that he may live: but I have not been called to come in unto the king these thirty days” (Esther 4:11). Nevertheless, as she thought on her uncle’s instructions and fasted and prayed, faith took hold. She went in before the king to plead for her people, and as a result, the Jewish nation was saved.
What He did then, He wants to do now; He still expects His people to take giant steps of faith.
Are we afraid to trust God when He asks certain things of us? Do we make excuses and say, “That won’t work”? Trusting the Lord worked in Bible times and it will work today. Some might say, “That was yesterday,” but He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. What He did then, He wants to do now; He still expects His people to take giant steps of faith.
If you find yourself in a place where God has not yet called you to a specific task, look around. If God is calling your brother or sister to something, give them a hand. Help someone else take a step of faith until your own call comes from the Lord. In the account in Luke 5, when Peter, James, and John were instructed to let down their nets, the catch was so great that they needed help. We read in verse 7, “They beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink.” What a miracle! Those who helped were as blessed as those who were called.
One day years ago, my husband said to me, “I want to move to Chicago, Illinois.” I was pretty comfortable in the Virgin Islands, but I prayed and was willing to hear what God would say to me. Then, during our morning devotions, God gave us these words from Galatians 2:9-10: “. . . we should go unto the heathen . . . only they would that we should remember the poor.” I questioned, “The heathen?” I did not understand the Lord’s direction, but this was my husband’s step of faith, so I went along to help him. We moved to Chicago in 1961, and after we had been there a short time, I realized there were many people in the area who did not know Jesus. I prayed, “Lord, this is what You meant.”
Our hearts were especially burdened for the neighborhood children because many of them did not attend Sunday school. The Lord provided a place where we could gather with the boys and girls each Sunday and teach them of Jesus’ love for them. From that small start, the Lord began a work and it grew.
Then, in 1988, the Lord called my husband home, and I was at a loss. There were a few saints in Chicago and there were still souls who needed to be saved. My heart went out to them, but what could I do? God told me to trust Him and He called me to continue the work. I wanted to obey the Lord, but it was a giant step of faith for me. I said, “Lord, You know I am afraid of even speaking in front of people.” I made more excuses, but they would not stand in the sight of God. He kept speaking to my heart, and at last I said, “Yes Lord, I will let down the net. I will do what You want me to do.” I called Reverend Loyce Carver who was the Apostolic Faith General Overseer at that time, and he granted me the opportunity to pastor the group in Chicago. It was my privilege to continue in that role for fifteen years.
What is the Lord calling you to do? Let down your net, take that step of faith, and He will help you.